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You know when something pushes you out of your comfort zone and you feel decidedly unbalanced? Well, I do now. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating and it’s definitely a bit unnerving!!

It’s been an interesting week with the launch off Beneath the Surface monograph and thank you to you wonderful curious weavers who have bought it and given me such wonderful feedback!! After 10 years sitting on my shelf and 3 house-moves, it finally saw daylight and a good dusting down and a lot of updating and I’m so thrilled that you are enjoying it!

It’s also been a bit of a technically challenging week with software not working as expected which is always a little stressful if you are not a technical wizard, a feeling I’m sure many of you will relate to!!

Anyway, I now have the time to concentrate on my other ongoing projects, such as the wonderful Woven Optical Illusions research which is such fun and the new 4 textile-techniques course that I am running with Chloé this summer (and we have our first bookings!). I’m taking a summer break from the big stitched double cloth research project I’ve been working on – heat and weaving with wool don’t really go well together – but I am doing the UK Online Guild Challenge which this year is on trees. There was a spinning challenge during lockdown which I took part in and decided to use my hand-spun yarns from all my years of spinning sporadically to create a woven piece for the Challenge. It has to be completed by the end of September, I think, and I’m hopeful to get it done. I shall be using weft-faced techniques which is quite unusual for me.

In fact, I’m doing a lot of things I wouldn’t normally do. Normally I plan a lot, have an idea of what I want to weave, how I want a warp to develop and change one thing at a time so I can scientifically observe what a single change will do to the fabric. However, since living in France, I have found myself changing! Cultural events here in our little corner of South-West France have fascinated me. In the UK, I used to do formal things like go to regular concerts (when I wasn’t playing in them), occasionally go to plays, fetes etc, but here the style of these social events is much freer. Even a classical string quartet concert was different – the players walked around during the performance, re-arranged themselves on the stage with risers, even the cellist stood up to play for one piece! And that’s not the most bizarre thing – every event we have been to here has been a revelation – quirky, humorous, eccentric – and the audience love it!! Serious is not the name of the game and a different approach is welcomed with open arms and a ready laugh and lots of supportive applause.

As I say, this seems to be rubbing off on me, as I am undertaking a new project – a fun project – without the use of a loom! Yes, you read that right!! The sample queen without a loom!! I have no idea what I’m doing. I have no idea how it will turn out. I actually have no idea how I’m going to start! It feels weird – very unsettling – but also very liberating. But I’m jumping in with both feet, and will embrace whatever happens. But somehow I know that it is going to be magical – maybe not for the viewer(!!) but definitely for me. The photo at the top of this post is my ‘warp’. I’ll show you the end result, but whatever transpires, I know that I am opening up to a different way of weaving to go alongside my more formal and technical side. Bring it on!!